Zain to re launch Sokotele

December 10, 2008

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – Mobile phone operator Zain is set to re-launch its money transfer service dubbed ‘Sokotele’ early next year under a new brand name ‘Zap’.
Managing Director Rene Meza pointed out on Wednesday that the delay in the re-launch arose since they had not met the full regulation requirements by the Central Bank of Kenya.

“You will be able to go from your mobile phone to your personal bank account in any of the local banks you may operate with, bring money from your personal bank account to your virtual wallet or hand set and send that money to a person in Nakuru,” Mr Meza explained.

He spoke during a press conference to unveil a new promotion that will enable both the pre-paid and post-paid customers make international calls to any destination in the world for only 20 shillings from 8pm to 10pm every day.

Mr Meza said discussions with the Central Bank of Kenya and several other commercial banks were going on to meet the requirements.

“The state that we are at now is that we haven’t already fulfilled all the requirements from the Communications Commissions of Kenya,” he further stated.

Customers will be able to withdraw and deposit money through Zain outlets and transact international money transfers.
“It will be a comprehensive mobile banking solution that will go beyond the money transfer. Customers will be able to interact with their banks and access their personal accounts,” he said.

Mr Meza said the mobile phone service market had become more competitive with the entry of Telkom and yu, but added that the current low calling charges were unsustainable.

“Tariffs might continue to go down although it is not sustainable for a long time because the investment needed is pretty much high.” He said the new entrants will need huge capital investments for laying out the infrastructure, introducing new technology and advertising their services.

Mobile telephony, he said, would also be affected by the global financial meltdown with reduced spending and dwindling credit.

He said Zain had raised its airtime sales by 25 percent and increased the number of subscribers to three million since August.

Mr Meza said the adoption of unified licence was likely to attract more operators but added that the four firms were sufficient for the market at the moment.

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